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RoadMedic Delivers Emergency Response Data Breakthrough

by Roger Lanctot | Aug 02, 2021

Twenty-five years after General Motors launched its OnStar automatic crash notification service, Next Generation 9-1-1 has finally arrived thanks to a company called Roadside Telematics. Twenty years ago I met the founder of Roadside Telematics at a telematics event in London and audience members listening to his pitch simply shook their heads, smiled, and wished him luck. "Great idea, but it will never happen," they seemed to be thinking.

That founder, Lawrence Williams, stuck to his guns for 20 years in the face of resistance from car companies, new car dealers, regulators, and telematics providers.  Larry heard what so many others have heard time and again from investors and potential customers: "We like what your doing. Let us know when you make some progress."

It was during those years that he worked closely with law enforcement and other government agencies to solve a variety of nagging problems plaguing the emergency response industry: how to respond in a timely and intelligent way to crash scenes. Current systems, like OnStar, were helpful, but seemed to slow emergency responders and impede their efforts to save lives at crash scenes and notify relatives.

Larry set out to change that. His goal: to see to it that critical information regarding the condition of the vehicle and its occupants, their identities, medical histories, and even the type of vehicle and whether or not it was stolen, was communicated immediately and directly.

It’s notable that just recently, in the U.S., General Motors has once again begun running emotional television ads highlighting the value proposition of OnStar. Those ads emphasize the overwhelming sense of relief when first responders arrive and the gratitude of relatives to learn a loved one is safe.

“When you need it most, we are here.” – OnStar television commercial:

While OnStar introduced the concept of an immediate call to a call center that would then route the crash information to the nearest first responders, NG911 is designed to deliver crash data directly to first responders. By sending data directly to responders either at their depots or en route to a crash scene, the Roadside Telematics platform – RoadMedic – is intended to save time and lives.

In operation almost as many years as OnStar, Roadside Telematics is the company coordinating the delivery of this data working with collaborators such as Intrado, NGA 911, and RapidSOS. The new solution will be formally announced at the National Emergency Number Association event kicking off this weekend in Columbus, Ohio.

Roadside Telematics’ platform, RoadMedic, is the first and only telematics service provider agnostic solution enabling the development and deployment of auto-maker sponsored 9-1-1 Vehicle Emergency Data Set (VEDS) systems aimed at saving lives during roadside emergencies. The RoadMedic solution provides the platform, protocols, APIs, and back-end to immediate transmit urgent information from the scene of a crash to first responders without the time-consuming manual processes associated with existing automatic crash notification (ACN) systems.

Off-board data from RoadMedic is aggregated from more than 300M data points and can be distributed in real-time across more than 6,000 9-1-1 Emergency Communications Centers in the U.S. and more than 17,000 first responder agencies, and includes State DMV-verified vehicle ownership details, first-notification-of-loss information, personal medical and emergency contact data, first-degree relative ID, stolen vehicle identification/crimes status, preferred towing providers, and insurance information.

RoadMedic’s data is delivered to first responders, including safety information and vehicle extraction schematics for the specific vehicle involved., dramatically increasing the safety quotient for both on-scene EMTs and vehicle occupants, according to Roadside Telematics. Via RoadMedic, first responders will be able to access information on the vehicle and its occupants as they roll to the scene – thereby saving time, and lives.

In an era of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay we tend to forget that the original vision of connecting cars was driven by a desire to save lives. Roadside Telematics’ RoadMedic restores that vision with next generation technology that will transform how the automotive industry thinks about car connectivity.

Every car should be equipped with emergency crash notification capability – not unlike the European eCall mandate that requires ACN capability is built into every new car.  Consumers should expect their vehicle to call for help and they should also expect first responders to have all the information they need to respond appropriately to a crash.

OnStar got us through the first 25 years.  RoadMedic is pointing the way for the next 25 years of automotive connectivity...and safety. Thanks, Larry, for your persistence.

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